What are your options?
Multiple myeloma treatment options
The goal of treating multiple myeloma (MM) is remission. Remission means that MM cells are so few they can no longer be detected by tests, and your health has improved. To keep MM under control and not have cancer cells grow back as long as possible, you need to continue treatment as your doctor recommends.
When it comes to treatment, it's all about a personalized plan that works best for you.
Stem cell transplant
Depending on factors including your age and overall health, a stem cell transplant may be an option. A stem cell transplant is a treatment in which healthy cells are infused into your bone marrow. These cells help boost new bone marrow production and decrease multiple myeloma cell activity. To prepare for a transplant, you will first receive high-dose chemotherapy to kill as many MM cells as possible.
Studies show that Black people are less likely to be offered the option of a stem cell transplant. However, there is evidence that transplants can improve outcomes for Black people. You should talk with your doctor about this option and decide whether it is right for you.
Types of medicine
Different medicines work in different ways, so combining them is often the best way to manage MM. Your doctor may put you on as many as four medicines to manage MM. Upon diagnosis, your doctor might discuss some of these medicines or treatments, including:
Monoclonal antibodies that target and kill cancer cells directly and help the immune system attack them as well.
Immunomodulatory agents that send signals to the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Immunotherapy that boosts or changes the immune system so it can find and attack cancer cells.
Proteasome inhibitors that interfere with action inside cancer cells that helps them grow and spread.
Chemotherapy that kills cancer cells and stops them from spreading.
Steroids that are effective against MM, as well as help decrease nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.
New medicines are always being developed. We understand feeling nervous about new medications, but clinical trials are important for a number of reasons:
- They could help to change a long history of underrepresentation about the impact of medicine on Black people
- They are a good way to get research-based treatments that aren’t yet available to the public
- They can help to provide information about which treatments work best for us
Be sure to talk with your doctor about all treatment options, including their pros and cons, so you can make the choice that works best for you.